The Road Traveled…So Far – Tyler C. Soetaert

This semester, I remember the first day of class in Journalism 550 almost better than I remember any other day. “I’m going to throw you in the deep end, but I’m going to teach you how to swim, says Dr. Janice Collins, a visiting distinguished professor from the University of Illinois. A visiting professor that may be here just a little shorter than we had hoped. “You will learn how to swim, I won’t let you drown,” Collins said. This stuck with me and through weeks and weeks of getting over different hurdles, I believe it began to resonate with all 18 students in that lab room.

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Video Essay: A Jayhawk Jumprope routine at the Rec Center in Lawrence, Kansas.

In the first class endeavor, my peers and I were assigned to a “video essay”, which would help serve as a smooth beginning for more things to come. The video essay was a light assignment in which we were required to gather 12 shots or more and compile it into a story. One with a beginning, middle and end. My video essay was about a famous Jayhawk jumprope routine that serves as a quick daily workout for the average student. I was able to catch a student in the action of doing his own routine at the Rec center, gathered a compilation of shots and put the story together. I really wanted to focus on the natural sounds of the jumprope slapping the ground, as well as capture the sweat and detail in the student’s face. I wanted people to see how the jumprope routine exhausted the individual in a short period. For a first project, I believe it went well and I should have worked on obtaining for close-up shots.

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Art Exhibit at the Spencer Art Museum in Lawrence, Kansas.

A week would pass after the first video essay, and eventually we were introduced to the first VO and VOSOTVO project. This came as expected for me, but the class emotion in general was still slightly overwhelmed. The first project would almost appear as two in itself given the request for both videos, however, real world business would ask for the same most likely. For my first VOSOT, I decided to admire the new African Art exhibit at the Spencer Art Museum near campus. This exhibit served as the last piece of the Sallie Casey Thayer collection, and the “final corner of the world” for the museum. It seemed as if the missing culture in the museum was that of African culture. I ran into an issue as my original idea had to be scratched and my tripod then served as an issue more than an asset when gathering the film. Nonetheless, I did acquire some beautiful shots for my first piece, which you can see in the links attached at the bottom.

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University of Kansas campus on Jayhawk Blvd.

After a short break and recovery, our class was back in the saddle for VOSOTVO number two. The second piece I put together was a more emotional piece. This VOSOT could potentially serve as a very timely and heart-felt package coming in the near future. I wanted to touch on the issue of gun’s on school campuses. I addressed the current climate of guns on KU’s campus and how students felt about the new conceal and carry policy that was put in place last July. The responses I got were incredibly interesting and gave me different perspectives from different students. It is not hard to notice the 70% of students who do oppose the new gun policy on campus. Through this project, I felt that Dr. Collins was very emphatic on the topic and believed that I have the skills and ability to make this a remarkable, emotional package that dives deeper into the conflict and uncomfortability of a pro-gun campus.

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“Ad Astra gives back”, a story that was done for a local business and used as VOSOTVO number three.

After a reflection, multiple current events and a handful of video assignments, I could sense the class was being worn down. Dr. Collins knew that one more project would truly improve the abilities of everyone in the room and especially ones who may be just short of the mark. A very compassionate person, Dr. Collins emotionally thanked her class for the birthday wishes and reassured myself and my peers that she is here to help us every second. The class began their third VOSOTVO and I decided my topic would encompass a local business who gives back to their community. I gave the spotlight to Ad Astra Running in downtown Lawrence. The company has an upcoming Run Walk Lawrence event, as well as their famous Irish Mile which are all centered around bringing in the community for a healthy and positive reason. The company reaches out to anyone of any physical ability or social class in Lawrence that is looking for an outlet. The project went better than the others, and fairly error free. I didn’t every shot that I may have hoped and imagined, however, the story fell together nicely. The one large difference in this third project was the guideline of creating a VO on a separate topic. My third VO stood as an announcement for the J-school’s big career fair on March 7.

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Bottom line, I am enjoying this class more than I had thought I may. More importantly, I am really appreciating Dr. Collins for her belief in her own process, and for connecting and caring for us as people before students. That can go much further than some educators may recognize.

Video Links:

Video Essay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4EU39YYEtI

VOSOTVO 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkPU9Fx-ljI

VO 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzpOil7l6-g

VOSOTVO 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DExvEbp0_A

VO 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRxcTm3t_PE

VOSOTVO 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n61-l1oc6a4

VO 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K9YMWPL1xI

One thought on “The Road Traveled…So Far – Tyler C. Soetaert

  1. student16

    Tyler,

    I just read the comment you left for me and I want to thank you for your kind words and insightful critiques. That being said, I hope I can give you some similar feedback. We have been in a few classes together now and I have been able to see your abilities come out in different classes. The first strength I notice about you is that you appear very comfortable searching out different stories in new places and making them work in the face adversity. The skill of being able to go to a brand new location, interview the subject and capture the surroundings effectively is paramount for journalists and I hope to learn from you in this aspect. Moving from the Spencer Art Museum, to a story about gun control and then to Ad Astra Running is a great use of diversity.

    As far as the actual composition of your videos, I think you have a great eye for what you want to include in your story. The museum story was a very unique idea and the shots you chose to film were great, but the lack of the tripod there definitely hurt you. I’m not really going to spend too much time talking about that because you know it would’ve turned out much better if you weren’t having problems with the tripod. The interview wasn’t framed very effectively but, again, I’m sure that would’ve been fixed with a better tripod. Your second VOSOTVO was awesome. I seriously had a hard time finding things to critique on it. Your shots are all very nice. I really like the shot of Strong Hall. The only real thing I might consider doing is interviewing your subject with a more interesting background. I fell into that problem on my first VOSOTVO and have been working on that too. Your last VOSOTVO turned out really nice as well. Your shots inside the store and of the merchandise look great. When you cut to the interview, try and give the interviewee more time on screen before you cut to the b-roll. I like how you included the pictures while he was talking, but I didn’t see him for long enough before the b-roll started.

    Overall, your project all seriously look great. It really is amazing to see how much you improve over 3-4 projects but your style is still apparent in each one. I am also excited to get working on this package because I think we have strengths that will compliment each other and we’ll be able to make something really cool. Keep up the good work.

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